does not mean “fake pig graffiti”. To find out what it does mean, here’ my latest at the Register.
On another topic, “fake pig graffiti” would make an awesome name for a punk band.
Mark, I owe you an apology. There are priests being threatened with jail for performing religious ceremonies, right here in the US, and all because of a law that’s been passed in the Obama era. It turns out there are ideologues threatening religious liberty, after all. So, my profound apologies.
Nice try, but no. No one is preventing these clergy from performing a religious rite. The state is simply saying that these clergy are not empowered to act as the state’s witness for people who are contracting a union that will not be recognized by the state to be a marriage. I know how much the tu quoque means to you here, Jem, but the reality is they can have all the pretend religious rites they like.
“I know how much the tu quoque means to you”
Well, I don’t like double standards, if that’s what you mean.
It’s simple enough. Substitute, say, ‘Jewish’ for ‘same sex’. By your logic, were a state to pass legislation that stopped the issuing of marriage licenses for marriages between two Jews, and sent rabbis to jail for 45 days if they performed a Jewish wedding, that wouldn’t be an infringement of religious liberty.
I’m guess I’m not sure in what sense the terms ‘gay’ and ‘Jewish’ are related enough in this instance for the substitution to work. Is the term ‘gay’ used here in reference to a religion? Or is it referring to an ethnicity?
It’s referring to a category of people who want to get married in a religious ceremony, where the religion itself has no objection to that, where the law would have no objection except that they fall into that category. If you want to substitute another ‘related’ category for this consenting adult couple to belong to, then please feel free.
It’s really not complicated, and it’s pretty difficult to make it complicated: passing a law that punishes a priest for conducting a religious service *is* an interference with ‘religious freedom’.
I don’t believe in God, they’re all ‘pretend religious rites’ to me, but I’m all for religious freedom. Any vaguely thoughtful religious person should understand that the principle at work in this North Carolina law could very easily be turned against their own religion.
As Dr Johnson noted, of Revolutionary-era Americans, the loudest yelps for liberty are always heard from among the drivers of negroes.The people who bleat about ‘religious freedom’ don’t want anything of the sort, they want tyranny they agree with.
You repeat the phrase ‘not complicated’, while carrying on as if ‘religious service’ is interchangeable with ‘an act consenting adults choose to do’. I don’t find this ‘complicated’ so much as nonsensical, and perhaps even devoid of meaning. Are all acts performed with consent religious? Does consent make an an act religious? Is a pretend religious rite the same as a not-religious rite (pretend or otherwise)? Perhaps there are people who insist that a not-religious-anything is in fact a religious rite, but I question the rationality and basis of such a claim.
You’ve not made your case, I’m afraid.
“Are all acts performed with consent religious?”
You’re getting confused by something that isn’t confusing. So, apologies if that’s my fault / try harder if it’s yours.
I specified ‘couple’ and ‘consenting’ just to avoid having to listen to someone who might parrot Bill O’Reilly’s moronic objection to gay marriage that it’s a slippery slope to legalizing human/duck marriages. Or the rather trickier objection that it will lead to a legalization of polygamy.
Cardinal Dolan said this about gay marriage being legalized in New York: ‘We are living in New York, in the United States of America — not in China or North Korea … In those countries, government presumes daily to
‘redefine’ rights, relationships, values, and natural law. There, communiques from the government can dictate the size of families, who lives and who dies, and what the very definition of ‘family’ and ‘marriage’ means.’ But there is an actual, real law on the books in which priests could be jailed if they marry couples.
In both examples, you have a difference in the definition of marriage between the state’s and a Christian church’s. In example (1) it’s tyranny for a state to define marriage and it must be fought until your dying breath, in example (2) … [tumbleweeds roll past].
In example 1, the law was explicitly drafted to allay concerns that priests would be forced to marry gay couples. Concessions were made. In example 2, priests could go to jail.
Why is Dolan up in arms about (1) and not (2)? It’s obvious, yes? He’s not the slightest bit concerned about ‘religious liberty’, he’s interested in imposing his particular brand of religion.
The solution is the same in both cases: the separation of church and state. Cardinal Dolan … took time out on Sunday to slip on his robes, go to the Face the Nation studio and say he liked the look of Jeb Bush.
I am very, very happy at the thought that the Catholic leadership wants to nail its colors to the mast of a sinking ship. The idea of the Church telling young Catholics they have to choose between gay rights and the Church is delicious to me, because I don’t think you could empty the Church of young people faster if you set off the fire alarm. *Their* children are going to see gay marriage bans like our generation sees segregated drinking fountains. That’s just the way it’s going to be, like it or not. The Catholic church can double down, but all that will do is double their losses, at this point.
But I think religious liberty is extremely important. I think people should be free to worship or not worship how they see fit. I think, within reason but with broad latitude, priests should be free to preach what they want and perform what ceremonies they want. And the short termist, right wing partisan nature of the current Catholic leadership harms us all, forces us all into extremist positions.
If you don’t see the equivalence … well, fine. You’re choosing not to look harder.
What? ‘Gay’ and ‘Jewish’ can be interchanged in the scenario you mentioned as long as they can be interchanged. However, as I understand it, the Jewish couple are Jewish in relation to their religion, their ethnicity, or both. When I asked if ‘gay’ was used in regards to religion and ethnicity, you said that the term was meant to refer to a category of people who want to get married in a religious ceremony. In that illustration, then, the couple are defined by their preferred act which they have consented to, in which case your argument appears to make consent the defining factor. And so I asked for a clarification. (I don’t think I can assume that you were implying that the Jewish couple were Jewish because of their consent–or should I?)
Now your clarification repeats what you said about the matter being simple. And yet you intentionally phrased your comments to avoid having to listen to someone who might parrot Bill O’Reilly’s moronic objection to gay marriage that it’s a slippery slope to legalizing human/duck marriages. Or the rather trickier objection that it will lead to a legalization of polygamy. Well, I don’t exactly look for Bill O’ Reilly’s talks or writings. Also, if consent is the guiding principle in these discussions, I’m not sure why human/duck marriages, polygamy, or any other arrangement that can be said to involve consent, would be much of a problem. (To be clear, I would contend that consent is not and should not be the guiding principle.) So no, I can’t say I agree with your assessment of both the topic at hand and of what I might possibly think or say.
It’s obvious, yes? He’s not the slightest bit concerned about ‘religious liberty’, he’s interested in imposing his particular brand of religion.
Not very obvious; not to me, at least. ‘Not the slightest bit concerned’! I would think he is acting in accordance to Church teaching. Clearly some would view his stance as ‘imposing his particular brand of religion’, I don’t, however, see why that should be the only possibility, why his words and actions should be nothing other than political power plays. I may not be as familiar with his talks and writings as I ought to be, but in this matter at least I think I have more reason to trust Cardinal Dolan’s words over Bill O’ Reilly’s
I’ve been thinking about what you’ve written before I went to sleep yesterday, and now that I’m about to sleep again, so far I don’t see simplicity as much as presumptions and comments that are less than clear.
Again, it’s remarkably simple: a Christian church is defining marriage one way, the state defines it another.
When a state’s definition of marriage differs from the Catholic Church’s, many prominent Catholics – clergy and laymen alike – declare this to be an affront to all that’s decent, and start raising specters of jackboots and dictatorship, and priests being thrown in jail.
Here, the state’s definition of marriage differs from a Christian church’s, and the law actually allows for priests to be jailed. But suddenly the Christian service is just – Mark’s phrase – ‘pretend religious rites’ and – Aaron’s phrase – it’s not a ‘real’ marriage.
It’s a double standard. And the reason you’re having difficulty comprehending why is that you have the innate belief that a Catholic sacrament is a ‘real’ one but a non-Catholic sacrament, even one from another Christian denomination, is ‘pretend’.
Which is, fittingly enough, a belief that religious freedom allows you to hold, and which I have no issue with you holding. But everyone has that right. I have the right to not be Catholic, I have the right to protections under the law that prevent the subset of Catholics who are in perfect communion with Mormons and Evangelicals from imposing their talking points on me.
I would say that definitions matter, and that definitions matter a lot with regards to marriage. As such, the basis of these definitions are important as well. I’m not very familiar with the details of the law which you mention, but if the basis contradicts Church teaching regarding marriage, I would dispute that basis. And this may be a mistake on my part, but given that theoretical context I rather think Cardinal Dolan would dispute the basis of that law too 😀
It seems to me that you’re making the case that the law you mention, and the quotes you ascribe to Cardinal Dolan, demonstrate the inconsistencies in which certain ‘subsets’ view laws and the application of laws regarding same-sex marriages. While far too many people who claim to be religious fail to be consistent, I don’t think you’ve shown how any of this applies to either the Church’s teachings on marriage or to Cardinal Dolan.
I observe that you emphasize consent/support/majority, and view marriage as an act which consenting adults may or may not choose to do. I would think that rationales guided by consent would involve not just a double standard, but several standards, a lot of which would be at odds with each other. At the very least, different preferences would inform different choices by which different people would consent to.
You also use the terms ‘subsets’ and ‘talking points.’ Is ‘subsets’ here meant to be a stand-in for ‘minority’? And I ask again: do you consider certain views of certain individuals that you disagree with as nothing more than talking points/power struggles?
As to your invoking rights and protective laws–would these rights and laws be based on preference and consent as well?
“As to your invoking rights and protective laws–would these rights and laws be based on preference and consent as well?” I understand that ‘consent’ is a dirty word around these parts, and I wouldn’t want people to get hung up on it.
When it comes to marriage, I think we can eliminate most slippery slope objections to gay marriage (ones that start ‘if we allow this, then before we know it … ‘), by noting that whatever else it is, marriage is a legal contract, and children, ducks and Japanese body pillows are not able to sign legal contracts. That’s all I mean by ‘consenting’, here.
As for the basis of law … my opinion doesn’t matter here, and would probably not be helpful nor sound cordial.
What’s at issue here is that there are now Christian churches holding the position that gay marriage can be celebrated as a Christian sacrament. Their understanding is, colloquially, that God approves of gay marriages.
What you, Mark and Aaron are all arguing is that these Christian Churches, with those sincere beliefs, invariably reached after considerable wrangling with the issue, are ‘pretend religious rites’, but that Catholic rituals are the ‘real’ ones.
And that is *exactly* the distinction the American legal system feels is not up to government. It’s the position of the Supreme Court that even where the religious belief directly contradicts the evidence of your own eyes, general opinion, common sense, or even basic logic, it’s not the government’s job to say what’s ‘real’ and what’s ‘pretend’:
We see this in the Hobby Lobby case. The contraception methods under discussion *aren’t* abortofacient. That doesn’t matter – under the long established law, the standard is whether the religious people *believe* it to be abortofacient. And we’re not allowed, in normal circumstances, to ask whether a belief is sincere.
Basically, if a religious person says they believe something, the law accepts that at face value. For reasons set out in the judgment I linked to.
And that’s religious freedom. The Dolan Doctrine that religious freedom means he gets to impose Catholicism on everyone else is actually the exact opposite of that.
There’s one person on this thread who I can say has done (and continues to do) a great disservice to consent, and that’s you. And since my reason for this focuses on sincerity, perhaps you won’t mind me elaborating on it
With regards to Christian churches that consider celebrating gay marriages as a sacrament, the Church would sincerely consider such sincere positions to be sincere mistakes, for reasons that go rather beyond preferencial tastes. Now, the Church views these mistakes to be serious enough that they cannot be supported or even just tolerated. Clearly you disagree with that. And yet you would view this as an ‘imposition.’
You’re quite willing to characterize the positions of said Christian churches as sincere beliefs, invariably reached after considerable wrangling with the issue. I leave aside the disagreements over what can and can’t be considered as a sacrament, or for that matter what God does and does not approve of. Now, I don’t know if I’m meant to assume that you’ve been present in all the public debates and private conversations, through all these years in which the matter has been discussed in all these churches. Nevertheless, I leave this aside for now as well.
I note, however, that you claim authority to speak for all these people, and to pronounce judgements on their individual beliefs and sincerity. (Perhaps I’m meant to assume as well that they gave you their consent in this regard?) In contrast, you treat the Church’s position on marriage as suspect. You make no allowance for sincere mistakes there, or any principled dissent. Instead, it’s a just matter of ‘imposing’.
This shows a readiness to ascribe sincerity to people and beliefs that, conveniently, appeal to you. And I used the word ‘appeal’ above because the attitude you have displayed is neither neutral nor objective.
For instance, you commented: ducks and Japanese body pillows are not able to sign legal contracts. Any effort to speak for ducks and pillows, of whatver variant, is now absent; except when you definitively say that they cannot sign legal contracts. I’d have thought that a person who has witnessed several decades of debate (all held in different locations), and has spoken for the goodwill of countless individuals, would allow the possibility of fowl and bedding to develop the capacity to sign legal contracts. However, not only do you make no such allowances, you even seem to dismiss the idea. Perhaps you turn your nose up at down, and so disapprove of ducks and pillows getting married (either to humans or to each other).
With regards to your own sincerity and goodwill, your very first comment contains words that may seem like an apology, but your subsequent statements render them questionable at best. You repeatedly presume that people who express views different from yours will necessarily borrow from Fox News and Bill O’ Reilly talking points. (I can’t even spell his name without looking it up.) And you throw out phrases like ‘Dolan Doctrine,’ which does no service to your intelligence either. Of course, considering that Cardinal Dolan is not the Pope (or even the entire Magisterium) such a ‘doctrine’ can’t hold much merit even in theory.
Considering all this, I am unconvinced of your sincerity, goodwill and objectivity (as well as your claim to authority to speak for and about other people). I also maintain that 1) I remain unconvinced by what you’ve said, 2) your views (of consent, religion, and other matters) are informed and influenced by subjective appeal and bias, and 3) your conduct on this thread does not lead me to suppose that laws and worldviews similar to your own will foster a just and moral society.
Ugh, so many typos. I iz sleepy.
You didn’t read the law, Jem (and neither did Stern, apparently). It is obviously intended to prevent ministers from defrauding couples by officiating a wedding without completing the legal process – either by not having a license in hand in the first place or by not making sure the license is properly registered with the state. The problem this law addresses is that of couples who think they’re legally married finding out the minister didn’t do what he or she needed to do to register the marriage. Same-sex couples have no expectation that their “marriages” are legal in North Carolina, so they cannot be defrauded by an unscrupulous minister promising to do something he or she cannot do (unless they don’t know same-sex “marriage” is not recognized in North Carolina). The only ministers in jeopardy from this law are those who are fraudulently marrying people who think they are legally married but are not (or ministers who are too incompetent or lazy to complete the process). Ironically, this law would serve to protect same-sex couples who, for whatever reason, might be susceptible to being duped by ministers promising their “marriages” would be legally binding. It’s not a particularly well thought out lawsuit. Like Mark said, same-sex couples (thruples, whatever) can have any kind of fake ceremony they want and any minister can play a part as well – just as long as everyone knows it’s not real or legally binding.
“Like Mark said, same-sex couples (thruples, whatever) can have any kind of fake ceremony they want and any minister can play a part as well – just as long as everyone knows it’s not real or legally binding.”
And like the original article says, by excluding a category of Americans that a Christian church is willing to include, it impinges on that church’s ability to define marriage how it sees fit. Whatever the purpose of the original law, it could be used to send priests to jail for performing same-sex marriages.
I don’t know how likely that is. But what’s clear – from your own statement – is that this law prevents a Christian wedding from being considered a ‘real’ one. Whether anyone goes to jail or not, that happens.
Read the Tim Dolan quote below. He says that states that try to do that are tyrannies, that it’s up to God to define marriage. Those churches are happy to include same-sex marriage. The state’s refusal to issue same-sex marriage licenses represents a curtailment of their freedom.
I note with interest that for the purpose of this argument, you’re saying a marriage is only ‘real’ if the state deems it legal. Would that make a same sex marriage ‘real’ in a state where it’s legal? Would it be a ‘real marriage’ in the eyes of God in Rhode Island, but not Arkansas, with God changing his mind every couple of weeks in Utah?
The whole premise of Tim Dolan’s argument is that religious definitions trump secular ones. It’s the stated justification for his opposition to Obamacare. But, magically, in this case, apparently, the law’s the law. Religious freedom is religious freedom. What you, Mark and Tim Dolan are arguing for it not religious freedom, it’s using any tool at hand to impose your values on the rest of us. A hundred years ago, those tactics were used, ruthlessly, to discriminate against Catholics, and others.
Again, you’re not after religious freedom, you’re after a tyrant you happen to agree with.
Also, ‘truples’ … it would be a lot easier to believe that US Catholicism wasn’t just the spiritual wing of Fox News if there was, you know, as much as a day or so’s delay before Fox News talking points became the examples of choice.
I don’t watch Fox News, so I have no idea if it is a Fox talking point or not. I think I saw it a few days ago in a British puff piece about three Massachusetts women (and in a few headlines around the web thereafter – enough to realize the word was “trending”).
“And like the original article says, by excluding a category of Americans that a Christian church is willing to include, it impinges on that church’s ability to define marriage how it sees fit.”
No it doesn’t. It clearly doesn’t do anything of the kind. Under this law, a church can define marriage any way it chooses and “marry” any set of people/objects/digital representations together as it likes. The church just can’t claim those marriages are legal under NC law. How is prohibiting churches from lying about what kinds of marriages the state considers legal excluding anyone?
“I don’t know how likely that is. But what’s clear – from your own statement – is that this law prevents a Christian wedding from being considered a ‘real’ one.”
Again, that’s not how this law operates. 51-7, the meaty portion of the law, doesn’t define marriage at all, in fact. However, 51-6 does restrict the requirement of a license to marriages involving a man and a woman. “Marriages” involving two men or two women are not contemplated, so ministers can perform such ceremonies without a license and without violating the law. Under 51-7, they just can’t tell the same-sex couple they are legally married in NC. This is an anti-fraud statute designed to prevent the misrepresentation of NC law to third parties under cover of authority as state-sanctioned ministers.
“Read the Tim Dolan quote below.”
Cardinal Dolan’s statement is irrelevant to this law because the law does not act to impose any marriage definition on any church or minister. As to his larger point, I think he’s concerned about the possibility of the Catholic Church being forced by New York to recognize as valid same-sex marriages. The NC law has nothing to do with that issue.
“I note with interest that for the purpose of this argument, you’re saying a marriage is only ‘real’ if the state deems it legal.”
I re-read my post, but I have no idea where you got this notion. Marriage is an objective reality. Sometimes the law recognizes that reality; sometimes it doesn’t. Some fictional marriages may be legal, but they remain legal fictions.
“Marriage is an objective reality. Sometimes the law recognizes that reality; sometimes it doesn’t.”
No. *Your* religion says that, not everyone believes that. The majority of Catholics now support same sex marriage. Other Christian groups are already performing same sex marriages. You are perfectly at liberty to believe in objective reality and what that might consist of – it’s your belief that you can impose your idiosyncratic conclusion on the rest of us that’s precisely what’s at issue here.
Another way to look at this.
For sake of argument, let me agree for the moment that there is an objective reality to marriage, a ‘real definition’, established by God.
However, we know that different states in the US define marriage differently. So it stands to reason that, in at least some places, there is a mismatch between the ‘objective reality’ and ‘the law’.
If the state you were living in refused to issue licenses for certain types of ‘objectively real’ marriages that the Church wished to perform, would you feel that your religious liberty was being infringed?